Half Life
Image: Valve

Gearbox Software ported the original Half-Life to the PlayStation 2 in 2001, but what you might not know is that it had at one point been developing another version of the game for the Sega Dreamcast.

This version of the game was cancelled just a few weeks shy of its intended release in June 2001, with its publisher Sierra citing "changing market conditions" following Sega's discontinuation of the Dreamcast console earlier that year.

In the decades since, fans have understandably been curious about this lost piece of Half-Life history with preservationists going out of their way to archive its various development builds. The Dreamcast scene member Xanadu, for instance, uploaded the first publicly available build of the game (dated May 23rd, 2001) in January 2003, and another user named Comby Laurent has since picked up where they left off, documenting a further four.

Two of these, unfortunately, cannot be shared online, because of their current owners, but Laurent has released the other two, with the most recent build being published earlier today, and the other back in 2018.

So far, Laurent has been able to find many interesting peculiarities about the cancelled Dreamcast version through examining these builds, with one of the most fascinating being the presence of a cheat menu that unlocks cool abilities through humourous word combinations. Players, as an example, need to select witty phrases like "Gordon Abhors Gravity" or "Otis Loves Dreamcast" to access cheats like Low Gravity and Invulnerability. This is a different approach from the PS2 port of the game, which simply uses a series of bland button combinations.

For more information on this port, we recommend checking out the Sega Dreamcast Preservation site for a history of the cancelled port and the testimony of a journalist who claims to have played it prior to release.

[source en.sega-dreamcast-info-games-preservation.com]